Dead File is a file kept by the Ethics section of Scientology organizations on those who have allegedly written the organization a critical letter, those who are declared Potential Trouble Sources and cannot be "handled" or disconnected, and those who are declared Suppressive Persons. The policy covering this is HCOPL 7 June 1965 Issue II, "Entheta Letters and the Dead File, Handling of". Ethics Dead File is not to be confused with the 'dead file' in Central Files/Addresso for deceased persons. The Church of Scientology has a strict policy of dealing with letters to the organization that are critical. From page 3 of this policy: "Ethics files shall include a DEAD FILE. This file includes all persons who write nasty or choppy letters to an org or its personnel. Rather than go to the trouble of issuing a suppressive person order or even investigating, we assign writers of choppy letters to the DEAD FILE. When their area is enturbulated or we want to locate a suppressive, we can always consult our DEAD FILE for possible candidates and then investigate and issue an order. The DEAD FILE is by sections of the area or the world and alphabetical in those sections. The actual action is simply to cut comm. You can always let entheta lines drop. Entheta means en = enturbulated; theta = thought or life."
There are exceptions to the application of the Dead File policy. From page 4:"Dead file does not cover business firms demanding bills, government squawks or dangerous suits or situations. It covers only entheta public letters received on any line including SO #1." Letters destined for the Dead File are literally rubber stamped as "entheta". "Receiver stamps it with a big rubber stamp: "ENTHETA To Central Files To Address then To ETHICS DEAD FILES"
Dead Filing is not restricted to just the organization receiving a critical letter, but rather any Scientology organization the sender may correspond with. From page 5: "Ethics receiving a folder or a letter marked with the ENTHETA stamp takes the following action: Writes a surface-mail postcard, colored an ugly mustard yellow, to any organizations where the person's name may be part of CF (central files), stamped on the back as follows: From (name of org) ENTHETA To Central Files To Address To ETHICS DEAD FILE and writes the person's name and address under it. Do NOT put two names on one card. One card = one name."
From page 6: "However, if Ethics finds the person is not in its DEAD FILE and all it has received is a card, ETHICS makes a folder and puts the card in it. That way the DEAD FILE of an org tells one that there is other material in another org and knows what org."
Ethics personnel are not to verify the accuracy of the Dead File label because the system of management is "fast flow". "Ethics does not even bother to read the letter or examine the folder on receiving a DEAD FILE folder or letter. This is, after all, a fast flow system of management. With the DEAD FILE system, one just parks the name in a folder in the DEAD FILES as inactive until there is a reason to do otherwise."
From page 7: "It is the full intention that:
1. All choppy, nattery rumormongery letters dead-end in the DEAD FILE. 2. That no further magazines or procurement letters go to the person. 3. That no staff personnel be enturbulated by the content of such letters. 4. That the line be cut completely. 5. That a record remain in Ethics."
Even if the sender of a past critical letter writes a friendly letter thereafter, that sender is still kept in the Dead File as Hubbard believed that these people were "mad dogs" who "don't change their froth" unless "released" or "cleared". "When a Letter Reg, in answering some letter, calls for the folder and finds it is a mustard-colored DEAD FILE DUMMY, the letter to be answered is simply stamped with the above entheta stamp no matter what it says, and is routed with the dummy on through as though it were an entheta letter regardless of what he new letter says. Short of releasing and clearing, these mad dogs don't change their froth."
SP names are also put into the Dead File and given an additional rubber stamp. From page 8: "All suppressive persons and groups are filed in the DEAD FILE but with the Ethics Order. The Ethics Order is stamped with the ENTHETA stamp as above but with the additional stamp Suppressive."
Potential Trouble Sources are spared the Dead File if they handle or disconnect from the SP."A potential trouble source order is not given the entheta DEAD FILE routing unless the person refuses to disconnect or handle. At this time the person's name is put on a despatch stamped with the entheta stamp and is routed to CF (central files), etc., as above. Sometimes a PTS refusing to disconnect is declared suppressive and in such a case it is handled as an SP above."
Those who are Dead Filed are never informed of that action. Getting out of the Dead File is at the discretion of the Ethics Officer. From page 9: "How does a person ever get out of the Dead File? One could somehow discover without our help he or she was in the dead file (we never inform them). If so, he or she could take it up with the Ethics Officer. But the probable outcome may just be more Dead File."
A report from a former Scientology staff member says that in the period of one year, over 1200 complaint letters were disposed of by using the Dead File policy in a Scientology organization.
- Foster, Sir John (1971). "Enquiry into the Practice and Effects of Scientology, Chapter 7: Scientology and its Enemies". Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London.
- Powles, Sir Guy Richardson (1969). "The Commission of Inquiry into the Hubbard Scientology Organization". Government Printer, Wellington.
HCOPL 7 June 1965 Issue II, "Entheta Letters and the Dead File, Handling of"
HCOPL 22 August 1966 Issue I, "Dead File: Restoration to Good Standing"